Breaking Opinion
February 16, 2016

It turns out many of Donald Trump's South Carolina supporters are still a little sore about the outcome of the Civil War. A Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday found that an entire 38 percent of Trump supporters in the state wish the South had won the war, with another 38 percent saying they "weren't sure" who should have won and just 24 thankful the Union was triumphant.

Unsurprisingly then, a whole 70 percent of Trump fans also thought the Confederate flag should still fly at their state capitol.

Trump's Southern supporters also tend to agree with his controversial plans involving Muslims, with 80 percent saying they support banning Muslims from entering the United States. Another 62 percent of Trump's supporters in South Carolina think the U.S. needs a national database of Muslims; a third of his supporters said practicing Islam should be illegal altogether.

Read more of the poll results here. Jeva Lange

March 1, 2012

Conservative internet publisher and activist Andrew Breitbart, who inspired the Right and infuriated the Left, collapsed and died early Thursday, at age 43. Breitbart, who reportedly had heart problems, started out as a behind-the-scenes deputy to web pioneer Matt Drudge. After leaving The Drudge Report in 2005, he rapidly built an internet publishing empire that began with Breitbart.com, and now includes such sites as Big Journalism, Big Hollywood, Big Government, and others. In the process, Breitbart became a brash defender of conservative causes, and the muckraking nemesis of liberal politicians and groups. His posts, including photos and videos, have been credited with — or blamed for, depending on your point of view — taking down foes from ACORN to former House Democrat Anthony Weiner. Here, a sampling of views, from those on both the Left and Right, on what Breitbart's loss means:

The conservative movement has lost a driving force
Breitbart was a "powerful force," GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum tells Politico. "What a huge loss, in my opinion for our country, and certainly for the conservative movement. I'm crestfallen."

Breitbart was molding tomorrow's conservatives
Andrew Breitbart was "a warrior," says Michelle Malkin at her blog. "He was kinetic, brash, relentless, full of fight, the bane of the Left, and a mentor to the next generation of right-wing activists and citizen journalists.... He will be greatly missed, but his legacy online and in the conservative movement is built to last."

His passion set him apart
"[Our site] has a long history with Andrew Breitbart," says Media Matters' Ari Rabin-Havt, noting that the liberal watchdog website grappled publicly and frequently with Breitbart. "We've disagreed more than we've found common ground, but there was never any question of Andrew's passion for and commitment to what he believed."

He took risks when others didn't dare
"In some ways, Andrew was our Merry Prankster," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. "He was willing to take risks and look foolish in order to make a point or win an argument, with more courage than most would muster." Who can forget how he grabbed the mic at former congressman Anthony Weiner's press conference, "demanding vindication" from all who disparaged him for posting the tawdry photos that brought down the disgraced Democrat?

The Right has lost its ace bomb-thrower
Breitbart, "a hard-partying Hollywood media gadfly," was the unlikely and "self-appointed spokesman of the Tea Parties, defending the movement from all charges of racial resentment-based motivation," says Alex Pareene at Salon, "making always entertaining if frequently... baffling television appearances, saying outrageous and often indefensibly inflammatory things for attention, and tweeting constantly." He had "generally a toxic influence on the national debate," probably because, for him, it wasn't about tax rates or foreign policy. "It was about fighting and bomb-throwing and arguing and winning a war against an enemy he built up in his Hollywood-inspired imagination to be massive and powerful."

He was a tireless, irreplaceable champion
"Like everyone, I'm in a state of shock, stunned," conservative talk-radio giant Rush Limbaugh tells Radio Equalizer. "Andrew Breitbart was indefatigable in every endeavor of his life. His passing is such a huge loss, to everyone who knew him. There was, literally, no one like him. As such, he is a legend now. He was culturally refined and a bulldog at the same time. And he was credible, always credible. It's just a shame." The Week Staff

January 3, 2012

3:10 a.m.: The state GOP has announced that Romney won by a mere eight votes. But this finish is "so close that statistics majors at Iowa State will probably see it as a question on the final," says John Dickerson at Slate. All that matters now, says Jonathan Bernstein in The Washington Post, is "the spin over the next few days, and it doesn't seem to me that the exact order of finish will affect that very much."

1:38 a.m.: "One vote!" declares an amazed Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Indeed, Romney now leads Santorum 29,957 votes to 29,956 votes. "Bless you, Iowa," tweets Reuters' Sam Youngman. "A boy couldn't ask for much more" than this fantastic race.

12:59 a.m.: It's still too close too call, says CNN. With nearly every single precinct reporting, Santorum has a 19-vote lead over Romney. But take heart, tweets the New York Daily News' Josh Greenman. "Second prize is a set of steak knives."

12:50 a.m.: "Oh Jesus," tweets Salon's Joan Walsh during Romney's speech. "He's repeating his America the Beautiful lines, corn-jokes and all. Mitt, this is a disaster."

12:45 a.m.: Now it's Mitt's turn. "Santorum spoke from his heart," tweets Paul Begala at the Daily Beast. "Not to be outdone, Mitt is speaking from his CPU." Indeed, this is nothing but a "straight Romney stump speech," tweets The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza.

12:37 a.m.: With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Santorum has a razor-thin five-vote lead over Romney. And that's not the only impressive thing, tweets Slate's John Dickerson. "Santorum's speech is better than anything I've ever heard Romney give."

12:20 a.m.: Santorum just took the stage to deliver his victory speech, and got "very, very emotional praising his wife," tweets Fox News' Ed Henry. "This is his moment & he's hitting it out of park."

12:15 a.m.: Sure, the votes are still being counted. But Santorum blew it by not delivering a stemwinder earlier this evening, tweets The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz. The little-known conservative "missed a chance to introduce himself to America before it went to sleep. Should have come out and declared victory."

12:09 a.m.: "Rick Perry is the worst presidential candidate in American history," James Carville declares on CNN, moments after the Texas governor all but drops out following his fifth-place finish in Iowa.

12:06 a.m.: "Perry's making the right call after finishing fifth and as far back as he did," tweets TheWeek.com columnist Ed Morrissey. "Bachmann should get the hint and do the same."

12:03 a.m.: We may not have Rick Perry to kick around anymore. "I have decided to return to Texas," Perry just announced, to "determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race." Look, tweets Politico's Jonathan Martin, "once a candidate signals uncertainty, the voters bail. See Cain, Herman." Yeah, tweets Political Wire's Taegan Goddard. "Perry is essentially dropping out and Gingrich has new life."

11:48 p.m.: With 96 percent of the precincts reporting, Rick Santorum leads Mitt Romney by 113 votes. "Does every freakin' election have to go down to the wire?" tweets Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas

11:45 p.m.: Why is everyone impressed with Newt's speech? asks W. James Antle, III at The American Spectator. "The moments of petulance undermined the moments of grace. It was a stark reminder of the personality traits that led Republican voters to reject him in the first place."

11:29 p.m.: Newt's fiery speech just ended with a snippet from "Eye of the Tiger." Gingrich was "on fire," tweets CNN's Donna Brazile. He's clearly "determined to regain his frontrunner status and eager to fight the next battle. This will be fun!" Yeah, watch out, tweets Politico's Glenn Thrush. Newt may be "turning the most dangerous mouth in politics on Mitt."

11:25 p.m.: Newt Gingrich is delivering a speech in which he praised Rick Santorum for running a positive campaign. He then implicitly zinged Mitt Romney: "I wish I could say that for all the candidates." Ouch, tweets The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza. "Newt is BITTER at Romney. Is a kamikaze mission far off?"

11:14 p.m.: Santorum and Romney are still duking it out for first, but CNN projects that the rest of the field is set: Ron Paul finishes in third, Newt Gingrich in fourth, Rick Perry in fifth, Michele Bachmann in sixth, and Jon Huntsman, who didn't compete in Iowa, in seventh. "Over the long term, who lost big in Iowa may mean more than who won," says Ron Fournier at National Journal. "The two biggest threats to Romney finished out of the running: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry." That means Romney is still "the odds-on favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination."

11:05 p.m.: A mere 13 votes separate Romney and Santorum. But regardless of who finishes on top, tweets The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, Santorum, who came from nowhere, is the clear winner tonight. And he better get ready for some scrutiny, tweets Mother Jones' David Corn. "Mr. Santorum, here is a helmet, a flak jacket, and a roll of bandages. Buckle up, sir."

10:55 p.m.: So much for an enthusiastic GOP, says Nate Silver at The New York Times. Turnout may be lower in 2012 than it was in 2008. "Reporters who observed that there did not seem to be huge waves of enthusiasm at the events held around Iowa look to be vindicated."

10:52 p.m.: Fox News projects that Rick Perry will finish fifth behind Newt Gingrich, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. "He spent $6 million in the state for this; one of the subplots of the coming week will be whether he should drop out and endorse Santorum or Gingrich in order to try to stop Romney." Let's face it, says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast: "Perry is one of the most embarrassingly awful candidates for a national party since Sarah Palin. He should quit but won't."

10:50 p.m.: What a nailbiter, says Wolf Blitzer on CNN. With 88 percent of the vote counted, Rick Santorum leads Mitt Romney by a miniscule 45 votes. Amazing.

10:29 p.m.: It's too soon to guess the winner, but so far "the general result looks like a clean divide between those favoring libertarianism, Christianism, and Romneyism," says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. "So take your pick:" Paul, Santorum, or Mitt. The losers are easier to see, says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. "Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) appears headed for sixth. She in all likelihood ends her race in her home state on Feb. 7. Texas Gov. Rick Perry may well wind up in fifth, even after spending $4 million, leaving a real question as to whether he should soldier on."

10:14 p.m.:  With 48 percent of the vote counted, Rick Santorum leads with 24.3 percent, with Romney (23.7 percent) and Paul (21.8 percent) close behind. "Does it matter who wins, when it's this close?" asks Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. "Of course, there's a bump from any actual victory. But if I were Romney, I wouldn't want to come in third, especially if he gets fewer votes this time than in 2008. Nonetheless, it seems to me that Santorum's late surge has hurt Paul and denied him what would have been a stunner. Bachmann is surely toast; Perry has long since become a joke; and Gingrich has shown how vulnerable he is to Super-Pac sliming."

10:09 p.m.: Tonight's three-way tie may play right into Jon Huntsman's hands, says Nate Silver at The New York Times. "A highly ambiguous finish... would leave no candidate with demonstrable momentum. That would free up news bandwidth for him in New Hampshire, where his polling is stronger but where he will have to compete with several other candidates for attention. The less news coming out of Iowa, the more time the news media will have to speculate about whether it is finally Mr. Huntsman's turn to surge."

10:01 p.m.: "Remind me again," says Allahpundit at Hot Air. "Now that we know who the top three will be and that it'll be very close, what does it matter what the order is? If Romney finishes third, that'll be good enough for a tepid 'is Romney underperforming?' narrative this week, but it does nothing to answer the question of who's supposed to emerge from the field and beat him in the long slog to the convention."

9:56 p.m.: Remember all those Mitt Romney-Hillary Clinton comparisons? Well, tweets Huffington Post's Sam Stein, it's also "worth recalling that H Clinton finished third in Iowa. Her handling of the state was kinda, though not entirely, similar to Romney's."

9:50 p.m.: With the libertarian Paul doing so well, tweets Mother Jones' David Corn, I wonder if a President Romney would "have to offer Ron Paul a position, say, Secretary of Smashing Government?"

9:45 p.m.: With 30 percent of the vote counted, Romney leads with 23.1 percent, with Paul (23.0 percent) and Santorum (22.9 percent) nipping at his heels. "Pretty amazing," tweets Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall. Indeed, this may wind up being the closest Iowa caucus ever, says Nate Silver at The New York Times. Previously, that honor went to 1996, "when Bob Dole finished with 26 percent of the vote, Pat Buchanan 23 percent, and Lamar Alexander with 18 percent. The 8-point gap separating Mr. Dole and Mr. Alexander may wind up being much larger than the margin separating the top three candidates tonight."

9:38 p.m.: "The Republican Party is seriously fractured," says Taegan Goddard at Political Wire. "Each of the leading three candidates represents a very different segment of the GOP."

9:35 p.m.: Nearly a quarter of the votes have been counted, and Ron Paul is in a virtual tie with Santorum and Romney. But "Paul is just roasting the others among moderates and liberals, who showed up in huge numbers for the express purpose of voting in Ron Paul," says Jim Newell at Gawker. "I didn't think the Paul campaign could successfully get everyone off the computer for a night. But could the rumors of the indestructible beast that is the Paul organization be true? Are libtards and children and moddies going to win the Republican Iowa caucuses for a candidate that a majority of Republicans consider their enemy? That's not going to fly in national Republican HQ atop Death Mountain. Bye bye, Iowa caucuses!"

9:20 p.m.: With 16 percent of the votes counted, less than 200 votes separate Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney. "If Santorum finishes third but close," tweets TheWeek.com columnist Ed Morrissey, "is that enough for him to get donors and keep going?" No, tweets Mother Jones' Clara Jeffery. "PEOPLE!! Santorum will never, ever be the nominee. GOP base, spare yourself the heartache." Indeed, tweets ABC's Rick Klein. "A three-way jumble at top is Romney win. Especially when jumble included weaker candidates."

9:07 p.m.: Why are so many young voters breaking for Ron Paul? My generation, tweets National Review's Dan Foster, is "still naive enough to believe that politics can be outlawed."

9:00 p.m.: With 6 percent of the vote counted, Romney is in third, a showing that many pundits believe would embarass the slow-and-steady frontrunner. But if he "comes in a close third," tweets Outside the Beltway's Doug Mataconis, "behind two men who have no chance of winning the nomination (Paul and Santorum) that's a good night."

8:56 p.m.: How the mighty have fallen, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. "Several of the news networks are projecting that Bachmann will finish last tonight... Remember when Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll? Well, August was a long time ago."

8:45 p.m.: According to CNN's entrance poll, notes David Weigel at Slate, "Paul cleans up with 'liberal or moderate' voters, winning 40 percent of them, and wins 48 percent of independents." That supposedly damaging story about allegedly racist newsletters sure doesn't seem to be hurting the Texan.

8:29 p.m.: A key question, tweets CNBC's John Harwood. If Santorum, who's in a strong third in CNN's entrance polls, "rockets out of Iowa: Will rich friends like banker/Catholic philanthropist Frank Hanna of Atl write fat SuperPac checks?" That would really help Santorum capitalize on his Hawkeye State momentum.

8:11 p.m.: The caucuses have officially begun, and early entrance polls show Romney and Paul in a dead heat. They also show that Iowa's 2012 "electorate is older and with more indies/moderates than 2008," tweets The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza. If that's true, tweets Politico's Glenn Thrush, it's good news for Romney, who polls well with older voters, and bad news for Paul, who excels with young voters. Maybe, says Ari Fleischer on CNN, but if those independent voters side with the Texas libertarian, they could "be the secret to Ron Paul's success tonight."

7:45 p.m.: "If Santorum wins," says Erick Erickson at RedState, "a lot of people will be correct in saying Mitt Romney is still a winner because Santorum has no money or real organization to go beyond Iowa. But my God in Heaven, the media is finally going to be confronted with an 'Emperor Has No Clothes' moment on Romney." He's supposedly "the most electable" candidate — but barely one-fourth of the party supports him.

7:26 p.m.: "Here's the thing," tweets Reuters' Sam Youngman. Michele Bachmann, who is at or near dead last in the polls, "is from here. I mean born and raised here. If she can't do well here, where can she?"

7:18 p.m.: ABC News "bravely asked its reporters and correspondents to predict the winner" in Iowa, says Nate Silver at The New York Times. "Nine of them selected Mr. Romney, compared to just two votes for Ron Paul, and two for Rick Santorum." But "this is not necessarily a vote of confidence that Mr. Romney's campaign will appreciate." Remember, in Iowa, "managing expectations is half the battle." With many pundits predicting a Romney win, Mitt will disappoint if "he finishes third or worse."

7:00 p.m.: Tonight's the night. Just an hour from now, tens of thousands of Iowa Republicans will gather to caucus, officially kicking off the 2012 presidential nominating contest. To get you started, here are seven key questions that will be answered tonight, a guide to the caucuses' "idiosyncratic" rules, and a primer on why exactly Iowa matters. Stay tuned — we'll be live-blogging the opinion as the results roll in. The Week Staff

January 25, 2011

President Obama addressed Congress and the country Tuesday night in his second State of the Union speech. TheWeek.com live-blogged commentary on the major themes of the evening as they developed. Here, a running account of the reaction:

THE REPUBLICAN RESPONSE

11:08 p.m.: The Guardian's Richard Adams believes that not only did Michele Bachmann's chart-assisted rebuttal make Paul Ryan look good, "she's making Sarah Palin sound like Viscount Castlereagh."

10:57 p.m.: Michele Bachmann's Tea Party response "played very well off of Paul Ryan's speech," says Erick Erickson on CNN. "Short words, simple English, get to the point — that's what she did."

10:43 p.m.: "No soaring rhetoric" from Ryan, says Joseph B. White at The Wall Street Journal. "The political equivalent of a tough love talk. The battle lines are drawn for the coming year. Very civil. Very far apart."

10:41 p.m.: Paul Ryan's speech was "lofty," says David Gergen on CNN. And Erick Erickson adds, "He was no Bobby Jindal from last year, which was probably the low bar for responses to the State of the Union."

8:53 p.m.:The networks will be airing Rep Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) Republican response, but CNN is the only network airing Rep. Michele Bachmann's separate "Tea Party" rebuttal. “Reminds me of how back during the Bush years CNN would air a special SOTU response from the left-wing of the Democratic Party," says David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo. "Oh, wait... no, that never happened."

OBAMA'S PERFORMANCE

10:22 p.m.: MSNBC's Rachel Maddow says "President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address tonight giving the country more of a CEO-style pep talk than a football coach-style pep talk."

10:20 p.m.:"The speech lasted more than an hour," says Jim Oliphant at the Los Angeles Times. "Most notable was the lack of sustained applause, which may have been a product of the seating arrangements."

10:15 p.m.: "Not a very exciting speech," says John King at CNN, "but a very carefully calculated political speech."

10:10 p.m.: The president is "painting a positive picture of the U.S. standing and relations around the world," says Joseph B. White at The Wall Street Journal — "much sunnier than recent headlines much suggest."

9:55 p.m.: Says Politico: "President Obama is really enjoying the open mic. He makes his third joke of the evening, and it's pretty good. On government waste, he says; 'Then there's my favorite example: The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them  when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked.'"

HEALTH CARE REFORM

10:52 p.m.: The president "made two things clear about health care" tonight, says Dan Nather at Politico: "he is willing to change it around the edges and he is ready to put it in the rearview mirror." Obama picked "the most obvious issues for finding common ground with Republicans" by focusing on medical malpractice lawsuits and filing requirements for small businesses.

BALANCING AMERICA'S BOOKS

10:26 p.m.: Lawrence O'Donnell at MSNBC calls the speech "a mathematical riddle that cannot be solved," pointing out the president called for a spending freeze but also suggested a number of spending programs.

10:18 p.m.: Obama let an opportunity slip by on the deficit, says David Gergen at CNN. "I really did not think he came through" on that subject.

10:16 p.m.: Chris Wallace at Fox says it took the president "35 minutes to get to the deficit" and that Obama devoted more of his speech to "big government and big spending."

10:02 p.m.: "Apparently we can't afford tax cuts for billionaires? Huh. Then why did we extend them, again?" asks Alex Pareene at Salon. "Oh god he's doing Reagan."

10:00 p.m.: "Everybody hates a five year freeze" on government spending, says Steve Coll at The New Yorker. "Republicans cuz it's not enough, Dems cuz it's too much. The only person who clapped was Biden!"

THE EDUCATION CHALLENGE

9:37 p.m.: The Guardian's Richard Adams notes that "Republican operative" Kevin Madden questions the value of Obama's "Sputnik" reference, by tweeting the quiz question: "Young voters: What's a Sputnik?" Adds Adams: "Another indictment of the American education system?"

9:35 p.m.: Alex Pareene at Salon scoffs at Obama's praise of our young people's inquiring minds: "Our students might not be so great at 'equations' but they're really good at asking Larry King-style questions, like 'What do you think of that idea?'"

CAN AMERICA COMPETE?

9:45 p.m.: "It's sort of conventional wisdom in Washington that the president needs to take over the 'American decline' narrative and a la Reagan or Kennedy inspire (and pander to) belief in American exceptionalism," says Steve Coll at The New Yorker. "But to do that by setting it up as zero sum competition with Asia doesn't feel right. It's not an accurate description of what's going on between us and Asia, for one thing."

9:30 p.m.: Obama is trying to be uplifting, "but one word he uses twice tonight is 'painful,'" says Damian Paletta at The Wall Street Journal. First when mentioning the changes in the economy. Second when talking about spending cuts.

9:25 p.m.:The president says no one could have known the potential of the internet. "Al Gore would beg to differ," jokes Karen Tumulty at The Washington Post.

9:18 p.m.: "We will move forward together, or not at all," Obama says. But "the problem is, which way is 'forward?'" asks Joseph B. White at The Wall Street Journal. "As we'll hear later from Rep. Paul Ryan's GOP response, there's a big divide on that point. That's the core of the debate."

THE BUILDUP

9:09 p.m.: Purple? Lavender? What color is Obama's tie? "I think it's symbolic," Wolf Blitzer says on CNN. "He gave that tie some thought."

9:07 p.m.: "I have said before and will say again, Presidents should enter to theme music ala the campaign trail and pro wrestling," says Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post.

9:03 p.m.: Conservative commenter Rush Limbaugh is no fan of the ribbons honoring Gabrielle Giffords that many attendees are wearing. He said earlier that they may lead to a "sing-a-long."

8:57 p.m.: "The 'sit next to your opponent' approach raises an interesting question," says Devlin Barrett at The Wall Street Journal. "Should Conan O'Brien be forced to sit for an hour next to Jay Leno?" Or "should Lindsay Lohan be forced to sit down next to, well, about half of the people in Hollywood?"

8:47 p.m.: "Could there be anything as dull as a discussion about, for instance, which Congressmen are going to sit next to one another to watch the speech?" asks Nate Silver in The New York Times.

8:39 p.m.: Did Nancy Pelosi snub House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) by refusing to sit next to him? Well, she had made other plans — and Cantor "forgot a lesson from high school," says Julia Edwards in National Journal. "The popular girls always get asked first."

8:36 p.m.: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' medical team and her heroic intern, Daniel Hernandez, are sitting with Michelle Obama tonight. "The president, no doubt, will introduce Hernandez and thank him for his selfless actions earlier this month," says Rob Anderson in The Boston Globe. "But the Obamas' symbolic gesture will ring hollow unless the president asserts during his speech that gay and lesbians like Hernandez deserve the same rights as every other American."

8:30 p.m.: Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, Jr. are not in attendance tonight. (Alito "has a speaking engagement at the University of Hawaii law school, whose website is currently running an 'Aloha Alito' slide show on its homepage," Politico reports.) "So Antonin Scalia is skipping the SOTU, but isn't too busy to attend a lecture series with teahadist Michelle Bachmann," says John Cole at Balloon Juice. "In reality, Supreme Court attendance is often spotty, even non-existent," notes Nina Totenberg at NPR. The Week Staff

November 3, 2010

The midterm elections "bloodbath" that was so widely predicted indeed came to pass, with Republicans making massive gains in the House. Although the Democrats managed to hold onto the Senate, several key races were nail-biters. Here's how the evening unfolded, as live-blogged by The Week:

6:53 a.m. How did Harry Reid manage to keep his seat? It didn't hurt that he won 90 percent of the Latino vote. "He better learn to say 'muchas gracias,'" Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart told Brian Williams on NBC.

5:35 a.m. In Alaska, "Write-ins" have a five-point lead over Tea Party Republican Joe Miller, but just "how many of those write-ins will eventually be deemed legal ballots for Lisa Murkowski is the question," says FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver. Silver also sees cautiously good news for Democratic Senate incumbents Patty Murray in Washington and Michael Bennet in Colorado, based on which counties have counted votes so far. In an "amazing result for Republicans," though, Silver projects a pickup of 65 House seats, for 243 seats.

3:16 a.m. How to explain the Republicans' spectacular night, and the Democrats' lousy one? Take your pick: It was a "no-confidence vote for Obama," says The Washington Post's Richard Cohen, since a "landslide" 61 percent of voters in exit polls said the country is on the wrong track. Pointing to the same exit polls, Cohen's Post colleague Stephen Stromberg says no, it was all about the economy, with 62 percent listing that as their top concern. "House Republicans got the car keys back, says Slate's John Dickerson, but "the exit polls suggested the country threw them at the GOP in disgust: Here, you drive," not out of affection for our "new co-leaders of American politics."

2:46 a.m. On the House side, the Republican wave "has been an incredibly orderly one," says Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, with just a few surprises and no real big-name Democrats unexpectedly unseated — GOP targets Barney Frank (Mass.), John Dingell (Mich.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), and Raúl M. Grijalva (Arizona) are all keeping their seats, for example. "For the time being, the biggest Republican upset is ... Michael McMahon of Staten Island?"

2:29 a.m. At this point, the only Senate races up in the air are Washington state, Colorado, and Alaska, with "write-ins" the current frontrunner in Alaska (presumably incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican), Sen. Patty Murray has a narrow lead over Republican Dino Rossi in Washington, and Republican Ken Buck and Sen. Michael Bennet (D) are essentially tied in Colorado.

1:48 a.m. In one high-profile gubernatorial race, California's Jerry Brown (D) becomes the oldest governor elected in state history, at age 72, after already holding the distinction of being its youngest elected governor, at age 36 in 1974. His opponent, ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R), spent more than $160 million, $141.5 million of it from her own bank account, making her tonight's "prime example — but not the only one — that money, for all its power in politics, is not always the answer when it comes to getting elected," says Michael Sheer in The New York Times. "Whitman discovered the position of governor does not have a 'Buy It Now' option," tweets comedian Brian Lynch.

1:22 a.m. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is keeping his seat, and the Democrats are keeping control of the Senate, The New York Times predicts. California's marijuana-legalizing Proposition 19, on the other hand, goes down to defeat.

12:01 a.m. The Week's liveblog is taking an hour's break or so before continuing again. The New York Times is now reporting that Toomey will defeat Sestak in Pennsylvania, while Republicans Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have been defeated in the California gubernatorial and Senate races. CNN is now predicting Democrats will retain control of the Senate. But will Harry Reid survive to lead it? Find out, back here, in an hour's time.

11:52 p.m. John Boehner delivers a passionate, sometimes emotional speech from the Republican Party HQ. "It's clear tonight who the winners really are, and that's the American people," he says. "But frankly, this is not a time for celebration. It's a time to roll up our sleeves and get to work." The new speaker of the House becomes emotional when describing his route to where he is now. "I've spent my whole life chasing the American dream," he says, choking back tears, before thanking his family. "Get used to those tears, folks," says ABC's Jake Tapper. "He's a crier."

11.40 p.m Alvin Greene has reacted to his loss to Sen. Jim DeMint in South Carolina with a single word, posted on his Twitter account: "RECOUNT"

11:38 p.m. Discussion on Fox News turns to the health-care bill, and what the GOP majority will do with it. "We all know now that Obama can defend his health-care bill with a veto," says Brit Hume. "But if that comes, how many Democrats will want to stand with him, I wonder?"

11:34 p.m. Some more good news for Republicans. The GOP is now looking at a "54 to 75" seat gain in the House, and Pat Toomey now has "the advantage" in the "too close to call" Pennsylvania Senate race, says Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight. It's not all bad for the Democrats; Harry Reid is now pulling ahead of Sharron Angle in Nevada, according to CNN. "We're not ready to make any predictions," says Wolf Blitzer.

11:27 p.m. "I have not heard the word recount all night... but the night is young," says The New York Times' David Carr on Twitter.

11:22 p.m. Some other races you may have missed: Democrat Barney Frank kept hold of his Massachusets seat, while Andrew Cuomo comfortably beat Republican challenger and Tea Party candidate Carl Paladino in the New York governor's race. "Carl Paladino's campaign not to be elected governor has succeeded," jokes Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

11: 16 p.m. In case you missed it, here is Chris Matthews' interview with a "hypnotized" Michele Bachmann. "Not sure why the Bachmann people agreed to this," says Alex Pareene at Salon. Watch it here:

11:10 p.m. "Lesson on Feingold loss: Vote for bailouts?" asks Brian Beutler on Twitter. The defeated Wisconsin senator had voted against the TARP bailouts. "No," responds Chris Hayes of The Nation. "Lesson is 'votes don't matter.' Which is a bit unnerving."

11:08 p.m. A slew of results comes in after 11 p.m. poll closures. Republican Nikki Haley has won the close gubernatorial race in South Carolina, while early California polling favors both Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown. Success for Boxer would mean the Democrats are guaranteed to keep the Senate, notes Slate's Dave Weigel.

11:01 p.m. Tea Party–backed Ron Johnson defeats Democrat Russ Feingold in Wisconsin's Senate race, reports Fox News, delivering a surprise Tea Party victory in the upper chamber. He's the "star of the night," says a Fox News presenter. Actually, this loss will be painful "for a lot of liberals and a big chunk of libertarians too," says Jim Newell at Gawker. 11 p.m. exit polls on the way... .

10:55 p.m. How will Barack Obama respond to this evening's disastrous results, asks Michael Crowley at Time. "How much humility will he show, how much will he promise cooperation versus standing his ground?" Will he act like Clinton and embrace the center? Nah, says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post. Obama will seek to transcend left-right dynamics and meet the GOP on some "ideologically undefined but temperamentally soothing common ground." It won't matter. This time next year, "they're going to be at war."

10:50 p.m. The Chicago Tribune has also weighed in on the results. Democratic senators will now be "nervous about advancing President Obama's agenda as their own re-election battles come into view as early as 2012. Similarly, moderate Republicans will be less likely to cooperate across party lines for fear of primary challenges from conservatives unwilling to compromise."

10:47 p.m. The New York Times has already published tomorrow's op-ed on the elections. "The punishing rebuke delivered by voters in House races on Tuesday effectively put an end to [President Obama's] transformational ambitions and left him searching for a way forward with a more circumscribed horizon of possibilities," writes the Gray Lady. "Facing a hostile House with subpoena power, he will have to figure out the right blend of conciliation and confrontation to reassert authority and avoid defeat in 2012."

10:39 p.m. It's looking like Democrats will retain the Senate, says Rachael Larimore at Slate's Double X blog. And it's all the Tea Party's fault. "O’Donnell's huge loss should serve as a cautionary tale." Getting candidates nominated is one thing, but you have to make sure their views "align with those of their entire district or state, not just those who vote in primaries."

10:34 p.m. Former GOP leader Dick Armey has admitted to being "very distressed" over the Pennsylvania Senate race, reports The Daily Caller, where returns show Republican Pat Toomey trailing Democrat Joe Sestak.

10:28 p.m. The Washington Post has posted a video of Marco Rubio's acceptance speech, which is sure to make headlines tomorrow.

10:24 p.m. Chris Matthews has had an uncomfortable exchange with Michele Bachmann. "Are you hypnotized tonight," the MSNBC host asked the Minnesota congresswoman. "Because no matter what question I ask you, you give the same answer." He later added, "She seems to be in a trance." "It was not clear that he was joking," tweets Arianna Huffington.

10:20 p.m. Salon's Alex Pareene muses: "The part of Election Day where no one has any idea what's happening is coming to an end," he says. "Soon comes the part where people say incredibly stupid things about what just happened."

10:14 p.m. "One of the most hailed stars of the Republican party is struggling tonight," says Michael Shear at The New York Times. Nikki Haley, the Republican candidate for governor in South Carolina, is leading Democrat Vincent Sheheen by "just one point." If she loses, it will be a blow to Sarah Palin. Haley, like O'Donnell, was one of the Alaskan conservative's Mama Grizzlies. Also in South Carolina, Jim DeMint reveals his defeated opponent Alvin Greene won 29 percent of the vote in the Senate race.

10:06 p.m. NBC projects GOP will win a 45-seat majority in the House. No big surprises from the 10 p.m. Senate projections — John McCain wins back his Arizona seat, as does Iowa's Chuck Grassley. A CNN raw exit poll gives Reid the edge over Sharron Angle in the Nevada Senate race, but it's still far too close to call.

9:55 p.m. Conservatives are continuing to celebrate predicted House win. "Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female ex-speaker of the House," tweets the National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru. "The gavel will be in Republican hands again," says Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit. The top of the hour will bring more predictions....

9:49 p.m. Marco Rubio's heartfelt acceptance speech in Florida has the pundits cooing. "Man, he's smooth," says The Guardian's Richard Adams. "Bill Clinton smooth." The newly elected senator is one to watch in 2012, says Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch. "He's a superstar."

9:43 p.m. "Get your popcorn," says Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Christine O'Donnell is giving her concession speech. The failed Senate candidate declares that she will use her new status to ensure the "death tax" is not brought back in 2011, before telling her supporters to "party." "Christine O'Donnell continues to delight," says NPR's Kurt Andersen, on Twitter.

9:39 p.m. "Democrats are getting killed with white voters," says John Dickerson at Slate. "In 2006 Democrats lost the white vote by four percentage points. In exit polls tonight, Democrats are losing white voters by 60 percent to 38 percent."

9:34 p.m. Discussion on MSNBC about how Rand Paul would use the filibuster to block raising the debt ceiling in 2011 and freeze up global markets. That would be a "doomsday scenario for this country and the world," says Lawrence O'Donnell.

9:29 p.m. "Pop the champagne!" says Allahpundit at Hot Air. The "GOP takeover" is all but confirmed. Now that a Senate victory is "out of reach," the rest of the night is about revenge. "Reid is public enemy No. 1, [California Sen. Barbara] Boxer No. 2," and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska No. 3.

9:24 p.m. Fox News is projecting the Republicans will gain 60 seats in the House. Sarah Palin comes on to credit the Tea Party for the victory. "The GOP establishment is learning a lesson," says the Alaskan conservative. "I think there's a lot of humbleness that will be made manifest on either side of the aisle."

9:20 p.m. CNN officially predicts the Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives, with "at least 50 seats." Comment to come....

9:10 p.m. Rand Paul is giving his victory speech. "I have a message from the people of Kentucky," says the jubilant candidate, "a message that is loud and clear. We've come to take our government back!" He goes on: "Tonight, there's a Tea Party tidal wave coming!"

9:02 p.m. The GOP has now gained five House seats, reports NPR, and needs 34 to gain a majority in the House of Representatives. That's looking increasingly likely, says The Guardian's Richard Adams. "There's a world of pain for the Democrats and joy for the GOP" just round the corner.

8:59 p.m. Baron Hill, a "bellwether" congressman from Indiana, has lost his seat to Republican challenger Todd Young, reports Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight. "This result tracks with Republicans taking control of the House by the end of the evening."

8:54 p.m. Pundits on Twitter are joking that progressive Alan Grayson will get a new job presenting a show on cable news. "The countdown is on for Alan Grayson to get an MSNBC contract," says Salon's Steve Kornacki. "O'Donnell/Grayson to replace Parker/Spitzer?" adds Ben Smith at Politico.

8:52 p.m. Conservatives will not miss Alan Grayson. He's a "low life," says Bill O'Reilly on Fox News. It just doesn't get "lower than this — except for criminals." But it's not all good news, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. "Fox and ABC are both calling West Virginia for Manchin. You can forget the Senate majority now."

8:43 p.m. CBS News now says Perriello has lost his congressional seat. Also, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Alan Grayson, the Democrat who famously said that "Republicans want you to die quickly" has lost his congressional race in Florida. CNN is having audio problems trying to interview GOP chairman Michael Steele.

8:37 p.m. Virginia House Democrats Tom Perriello and Horace Nye are "both behind" in their congressional races, says The Nation's Chris Hayes at his Twitter feed. "Took basically opposite approaches to being a Democrat in a contested seat and looks like it might not matter." Meanwhile, CNN reports that Republican John Boozman has won Blanche Lincoln's Senate seat in Arkansas.

8:31 p.m. "Vietnam War fakers everywhere are celebrating... Richard Blumenthal’s projected victory," says Michelle Malkin at her blog, in reference to the Democrat's misstatement of his war record.

8:25 p.m. Rubio's win was down to independent voters, says Rebecca Sinderland at CNN, 48 percent of whom flocked to him due to his "small-government message." As many as seven in 10 voters told exit pollsters in Florida that "government's not working."

8:20 p.m. "This is about President Obama tonight," says Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. "The big question is Reid. If he gets re-elected, Obama is okay. If he loses, Obama is adrift." Meanwhile, Christine O'Donnell's campaign staff appear to be unaware of her loss when CNN reports live from Delaware.

8:16 p.m. "That was quick," says Kevin Derby at Sunshine State News of the declaration of Marco Rubio's win in Florida senate race. No one was expecting a result here until well after the polls closed. Fox News is also calling the Connecticut Senate race for Democratic candidate Richard Blumenthal.

8:08 p.m. "Breaking," says Slate's Dave Weigel on his Twitter feed. "You lose U.S. Senate race in Delaware." That's a reference to Christine "I'm you" O'Donnell, who has lost her battle with Democratic opponent Chris Coons. "Crowd quite pleased" in Florida at Rubio's win, says The Daily Telegraph's Jon Swaine, reporting from the Sunshine State via his Twitter feed. More comment on Rubio's victory on the way.

8:03 p.m. CNN is calling victory for Chris Coons in Delaware, and Marco Rubio in Florida senate race... comment to come....

8:02 p.m. Michael Bennet appears on MSNBC to tell them he's "winning" in the Colorado Senate race. "Who's your hero?" anchor Chris Matthews asks. "Abraham Lincoln," replies Bennet. "That's safe," Matthews says. "It seems appropriate for events of the last several months," says the Democrat.

7:58 p.m. In case you were thinking it's all good news for Democrats, The Drudge Report says a GOP "pick up of 50+" could be on the cards. "That's the floor," says Allahpundit at Hot Air. "Where's the ceiling?"

7:50 p.m. It could be a "relatively good night for Democrats in the Senate," says The Daily Beast, if exit polls are to be believed. On top of Joe Manchin, Richard Blumenthal is looking good in Connecticut, Patty Murray is up in Washington, and Michael Bennet has a slight lead in Colorado. "Take it for what it's worth."

7:43 p.m. "If Manchin wins," tweets Mark Murray at NBC, "you can pretty much bet that Dems will hold the Senate."

7:40 p.m. Democrat candidate Joe Manchin is leading Republican opponent John Raese 52-45 according to raw exit poll data from West Virginia, reports CNN. Eliot Spitzer tells viewers Manchin wouldn't be an asset to the Democrats, as he has run on an outright anti-Obama platform. CNN should consider that raw exit polls are like sniffing glue, comments Richard Adams at The Guardian. "Dangerous stuff but cheap kicks for a while."

7:29 p.m. ABC's pundits discuss Obama, who is said to be "serene" at home in the White House. Isn't it looking like a referendum on Obama? asks Diane Sawyer. "Boy, it's starting to look like it," says George Stephanapoulous. The president will speak at 1 p.m. tomorrow and is expected to to "put the ball back in the GOP court."

7:25 p.m. Results so far don't indicate much, says Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. "We haven't seen anything yet that gives us a clear read of what's happening tonight. Frankly, not really anything that's been particularly surprising."

7:17 p.m. More comment on Rand Paul's win in Kentucky. It's "costly" for the GOP, tweets Newsweek. "They keep a seat they held and gain a senator who's promised to challenge leadership." Meanwhile, "joke candidate" Alvin Greene has lost his bid to unseat Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

7:06 p.m. Both CNN and Fox News are calling it for Rand Paul. "That's the first Tea Party win of the night," says Richard Adams at The Guardian. "But don't forget it was a Republican seat already so no change overall." But Dan Coats has also taken the Indiana Senate seat from the Democrats, according to Fox News.

6:58 p.m. The Associated Press says Republicans have won the first three Congressional races of the evening — Hal Rogers in Kentucky, and Mike Pence and Dan Burton in Indiana. "All were overwhelming favorites," says Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, "but Republicans are up 3-0 so far."

6:49 p.m. Most early predictions have Rand Paul surging ahead of Jack Conway in the Kentucky Senate race. The Drudge Report has the Libertarian candidate winning 55-44, while CNN gives him an early lead of 58-42 after 1 percent of the votes have been counted. But "it is still way too early to determine a possible winner since 99% of the votes have not yet been reported," says Adam Ellis at The News of Today.

6:30 p.m. The first exit polls are in, reports The Drudge Report.  Republicans are predicted to win Senate victories in Arkansas, Ohio, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. But it might be best to "mostly ignore" these early numbers, says Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight. "Early exit polls are not intended to be taken at face value and can even be rather misleading."

6:20 p.m. "Early exits have dead heat in #nvsen," says Slate's Dave Weigel on his Twitter feed. Polls will close in Nevada at 10 p.m. EST, but the result of Harry Reid and Sharron Angle's race may be too close to call until early tomorrow morning.

6:14 p.m. "It's in the voters' hands now," says Nancy Cordes at CBS News. There are "two key numbers" in the race for control of Congress: "10 and 39." Republicans need to win 10 extra seats for a majority in the Senate, and 39 to control the House of Representatives. A "win of epic proportion" would see them win 60 or more seats from their Democrat opponents.

6:00 p.m. Polls have closed in Kentucky and Indiana. First exit polls should be out soon.

5:36 p.m. With just under half an hour until the first polls close, news comes that the turnout in Delaware has been lower than the Democrats are "comfortable with." That potentially means that GOP candidate Christine O'Donnell — well behind in most recent polls — could still stand a chance against opponent Chris Coons. This has to be a bad omen for the Democrats, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. If she actually wins, "the mythic GOP super-wave really might be on its way. The Week Staff

November 1, 2010

With candidates in hundreds of races across the country furiously trading final shots in the run-up to Election Day, it can be a challenge to keep a handle on all the action. Here's a regularly updated rundown of some of the most fun and notable pre-election controversies:

Monday, November 1

VIDEO: Lee Fisher is on like LeBron
The story
: The Democrat senate candidate for Ohio has spoofed LeBron James' commercial for Nike, in which he asks the viewer, "What should I do?" In the video, Fisher asks the same question, continuing: "Should I tell you how much I care about Ohio?" The celebrated basketball player left the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this year to play for the Miami Heat, a move which provoked much ire in the Buckeye state.
The reaction: "This will certainly play well to the people," says Royce Young at CBS Sports. "Well done, Lee Fisher. Your pandering to the emotions of jilted Cavalier fans could very well work." Uh, not likely, says Kurt Helin at NBC Sports, given he's 22 points behind his Republican rival in the polls. "I know next to nothing about his politics or his opponents, but I know there are no 22-point shots." Watch the video here, then take a look at The Week's round-up of pop culture-influenced political ads:

 

 

UPDATE: The numbers behind the midterm elections
As much as $4 billion will have been spent on the 2010 elections by the time the polls close tomorrow, according to a Washington research group, a record amount for a midterm election. Republicans just about have the edge on donations, but the largest outside spender is a liberal-leaning labor union. For a look at how the numbers break down, see The Week's take on the most expensive midterm election in history.

UPDATE: Republicans poised to 'massacre' Democrats tomorrow
The story: A new Gallup poll gives the Republicans a "substantial lead" over the Democrats. Between 52 and 55 percent of likely voters prefer the Republican candidate, while 40 to 42 percent skew Democrat. Among likely voters, the GOP has an unprecedented 15 percentage-point lead. In Gallup's view, a Republican majority in the House is "highly probable," with the "question of interest... not whether the GOP will win the majority, but by how much."
The reaction: "Game over," says Dave Weigel at Slate. Even a last-minute get-out-the-vote push can't help Dems now. This is just one poll, says Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, in a year that "pollsters are having an awfully difficult time getting a handle on." And these polls will mean nothing if conservatives don't vote, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. The Republican party could receive "a real mandate to return to a limited government approach at the federal level" tomorrow. But only if their base turns up.
For related coverage on The Week, see: "The House: How badly will the Dems lose?"

OPINION: The four House races to watch on Tuesday
Democrats may be widely predicted to lose control of Congress on Tuesday, but a handful of House seats will determine if it's merely a bad night for the Democrats — or a catastrophe. Close races in Indiana, Virginia, Florida, and New York could make all the difference. Read The Week's round-up of too-close-to-call House races here.

Friday, October 29

VIDEO Louisiana senate race gets dirty
The story: As campaigning draws to a close, yet another nasty attack ad has emerged — this time from the Louisiana senate race. Democrat Charlie Melancon's TV ad accuses Republican incumbent David Vitter of spending taxpayers' money on prostitutes. "Our tax dollars pay David Vitter's salary, and he used it for prostitutes," says the ad. "You're welcome Senator." Vitter admitted to a dalliance with a Washington, D.C. escort in 2007. Melancon kept up the attacks on his opponent's "serious sin" during last night's debate.
The reaction: Melancon seems to have no other weapon with which to attack Vitter, says Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post. "Basically this senate race has become a referendum on whether Louisiana residents approve of whoring or not." It has not been a successful tactic, says Carl J. Kelm at The Wall Street Journal, given that Melancon "lags in most polls by double digits." Luckily for Vitter, voters are "more interested in electing whoever will oppose the Obama agenda" than in the senator's sins. Watch the video here:

 

 

OPINION The four races that could decide the Senate majority
Election Day is just a handful of days away, but some races are still too close to call. If Republicans hope to gain control of the Senate, they'll need to win the four most unpredictable races in the election — in Illinois, Colorado, Nevada, and Alaska. Read The Week's round-up of opinion on these too-close-to-call battles.

UPDATE Did Bill Clinton ask Kendrick Meek to drop out of Florida race?
The story:
According to a report from Politico's Ben Smith, the former president tried to persuade Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek to withdraw from the Florida Senate race last week to give a boost to independent candidate Charlie Crist. Without third-place Meek in the race, former governor Crist might stand a chance against Republican candidate Marco Rubio, who is way ahead in the polls. Meek has denied allegations that he considered dropping out. It later emerged that Crist may have asked Clinton to talk to Meek. (Read The Week's guide to the Florida Senate race)
The reaction:
This kind of backroom dealing helps only Rubio, says Kyle O. Peterson at the National Review. Just days before the election, "Meek looks an unsteady choice, while Crist looks slimy and driven to win at all costs." Whatever the truth, the story has planted "door-closing doubts about Meek in the minds of the state's Democratic voters," says Jay Newton-Small at Time. Whether that's enough to help Crist remains to be seen.

Thursday, October 28

VIDEO Democrats release "scary" anti-Rand Paul "stomping" ad
Kentucky Democrats have produced an anti-Rand Paul ad featuring the controversial stomping incident caught on video earlier this week. "Rand Paul," the ad's text goes. "Stomping on you. Stomping on Kentucky." The "scary" commercial, in support of Jack Conway's candidacy, can apparently only be shown after 10 p.m. because of its violent content. This "latest reminder of how crazy this campaign season has been" is better than many of Conway's attack ads, says Ray Rahman at Mediaite. At least this one tries to focus on the issues. But it's unlikely to have an effect on the race, says Jeremy P. Jacobs at the National Journal. Conway is too far behind in the polls for this "hail mary" to make a difference. Watch the video here:

UPDATE Obama responds to "Shove It" Democrat Frank Caprio
The story: The president has responded to the Democrat who angrily told him to "shove it" earlier this week. Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio was angry at Obama for not endorsing him in his race, and attacked him during a radio interview. Today, Obama said Caprio's outburst was "not a big deal." He told American Urban Radio that Caprio made his comment "off the cuff," before adding, "in politics you don't worry about people saying stuff about you." Caprio's comments haven't gone down well with likely voters. An NBC poll found he has slipped 12 points during this month. 
The reaction: Caprio's poll slump is no surprise, says Edward Fitzpatrick at the Providence Journal. While he "had a right to be angry," telling the president to "shove it" is "not the kind of quote that gets you mentioned as a great statesman." And it's fed into a narrative about the hot-headed candidate, adds Felicia Sonmez at the Washington Post. His opponents have tried to persuade voters Caprio lacks the "character and temperament to be governor." It looks like he's done their work for them. 

VIDEO Jerry Brown ad spoofs Dos Equis commercial
This newly-released ad for the California gubernatorial candidate riffs on the Dos Equis commercials featuring "The Most Interesting Man in the World" — and seems unafraid to bestow the same superlative on Brown. California's Democratic Party must be very confident in Brown's chances, says Christopher Weber at Politics Daily, "judging from the levity of the material with only six days until the election." Brown is currently leading opponent Meg Whitman by 47 points to 40. (Watch Brown's ad, along with 7 other political ads spoofing pop culture, here)

UPDATE Alaska GOP candidate Joe Miller slips to third place

The story: Despite being endorsed by Sarah Palin, the Tea Party-backed GOP candidate for Alaska's Senate seat is suffering in the polls. A "jaw-dropping" 60 percent of Alaskans feel "very negative" about Miller as a candidate, reports Jeanne Devon at The Huffington Post, and he has slipped behind both write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Scott McAdams in the race for senator. (Read The Week's guide to the Alaska senate race)
The reaction: A stream of bad news about Joe Miller is behind his lapse in the polls, says Ivan Moore at the Anchorage Press. It recently emerged that he lied about misusing computers while a government lawyer and has been "sucking the teat" of various federal programs. But it's worth noting that Hays Research, the pollster who came up with these figures, has gotten things wrong before, says Jim Geraghty at the National Review. Miller's numbers may have taken a hit, but I doubt "his circumstances are as dire as the Hays poll suggests."

UPDATE Independents could seal Harry Reid's fate, says poll
The story: The Senate majority leader could lose his Nevada seat to Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, according to a new poll. The Republican challenger has a 15-point lead among independent voters, giving her a 2-point lead overall against Reid. The Time/CNN/Opinion Research poll also gave Kentucky GOP senate candidate Rand Paul the edge over Democrat rival Jack Conway.
The reaction: We may not win a majority in the Senate, says conservative blogger Sister Toldjah, but we could still topple its majority leader. What a "major feather in the respective caps of both conservatives and the GOP" that would be. This is all because "our side won't turn out," complains the liberal Daily Kos site. If the GOP does "win huge," it won't be because the country has turned conservative, "but because Democrats stayed home."
 
Wednesday, October 27

UPDATE Connecticut voters can wear WWE clothing, says judge

The story: Voters in Connecticut will be able to wear their World Wrestling Entertainment clothing to the polling booth, after a federal judge ruled that it did not constitute political advertising. Linda McMahon, the sports empire's former chief executive, is the Republican party's Senate candidate for the Nutmeg State, and election officials had warned that voters clad in WWE garb might be guilty of political hucksterism.
The reaction: What a ridiculous spat, says Kevin Eck at the Baltimore Sun. Not only are there no WWE T-shirts that bear Linda McMahon's likeness, no-one would assume someone wearing a "John Cena cap or an Undertaker T-shirt" is a McMahon supporter. This petty controversy is just "politics as usual." It's certainly "not the most earthshaking judicial decision of the 2010 mid-term elections," agrees Frank James at NPR.

FLASH Rand Paul 'stomper' asks victim for apology
The Rand Paul supporter who stomped on the head of a MoveOn.org protestor outside the Kentucky Senate debate has attempted to explain his actions on local TV — and demanded an apology from his victim. Watch the video, along with reactions from Washington Monthly's Steve Benen and blogger Ann Althouse, here.

UPDATE Shock news? Democrats spending more on campaigns
The story: Democratic candidates have outraised their Republican opponents by over 30 percent in 109 key House races, reports The New York Times. Despite the controversy over outside spending, often by anonymous Republican donors, it is the Democrats who have "wielded a significant head-to-head financial advantage" over the GOP.
(Read The Week's roundup of opinion on outside spending)
The reaction: Finally, says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway, the "much ballyhooed" outside spending on GOP candidates has been put in proper context — it's making up for a "major deficit in campaign level spending." But outside spending "is still worth focusing on," says Jesse Zwick at the Washington Independent. Not only is it a "new phenomenon," but it "almost invariably" favors Republican candidates. In an election year when the GOP controls Congress and can expect greater campaign funds, such outside spending may make a huge difference.

OPINION Obama's post-election gameplan: 5 suggestions
What will the president do if the widely-expected Republican landslide comes to fruition? Stick to his guns, accept the blame, or start building bridges with the GOP? Pundits from the Christian Science Monitor, Time, Townhall, and more weigh in at The Week's latest opinion roundup.

VIDEO Joy Behar vs. Sharron Angle
"The View" host calls the Nevada senate candidate a "bitch" and says she is "going to hell." Watch the video, and read what commenters from Salon, Right Pundits, and The Washington Examiner have to say about Behar's outburst.

The Week Staff

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